The short answer is to forget the gift and give cash. More often than not, couples cohabitate before they get married, and they probably have most of the household items a couple would need to start a life together.
Think about the time and energy you would spend picking out an item. How much is that time worth to you? How much will you spend wrapping the item or on the card? You may be able to afford to give the couple a generous check after you take all these costs into account.
Some of you may be unsatisfied with this answer. Perhaps you feel that the close relationship you enjoy with the couple warrants a thoughtful, appropriate gift. If this is the case, you may want to think of a gift.
Perhaps you are thinking of the crystal candlesticks that are sitting in your china cabinet that you received on your special day decades ago. While this may have been a gift that you valued at the time, think about how many times you have used those candlesticks during your marriage. Young people, today value experiences more than things. Young people have bucket lists and want to take photos of themselves participating in an event or an activity to share on their social media accounts. Read on to discover some unique ideas for wedding gifts.
Gift An Experience
Do some research in the area where the couple lives to see what new attraction is popular. Purchase concert tickets (or a gift card for a local venue), tickets to amusement parks, ax-throwing places, or a special exhibit at a museum that you think they would be interested in attending. Consider getting a gift card to a local spa where the couple can relax with a couple’s message. Give a gift card to Priceline or VBRO so the couple can enjoy a weekend getaway. If you live in a different city than the couple, plan a weekend for them so they can enjoy the sights of your city. Allow them to stay in your guest room and pay for a couple of meals and activities in your area.
Gift A Class
Search online for some classes that are offered in the young couple’s area. Look into culinary classes that are available through your local cooking school. Some courses may be designed for couples specifically. The classes may teach specific cooking techniques, like sushi rolling, or skills, like knife skills.
Perhaps the couple are do-it-yourselfers and have purchased a house that they plan to renovate. You may purchase a class for the couple that would teach them how to do their own tiling. Maybe they would enjoy a lesson on how to paint cabinets.
Perhaps you would like to encourage the young couple to begin their lives together by making fiscally prudent decisions. You may want to purchase a class similar to Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University.
Many couples return from their honeymoon more in love than ever before but broke. The wedding, reception, and honeymoon trip may have wiped out all their savings, and they may need to start from scratch financially. At this time, the young couple would probably appreciate a gift card to a restaurant or movie theatre.
While some couples register for a new toaster or bedding, others may choose non-traditional registry options. Honeyfund allows couples to ask their guests to help fund their honeymoon trip. Feather the Nests invites guests to help with the down payment for a home or a home renovation projects. Some couples may choose to ask guests to donate to a cause of their choice instead of a gift.
Tips For Purchasing A Traditional Gift
Although it may seem unsatisfying or boring, stick with the couple’s registry when purchasing a traditional gift. Not only did the bride and groom physically pick those items to be bought, but they also have the benefit of knowing where the item came from in case they changed their mind or received a duplicate item. Always include a gift receipt.
Another gift that may seem rather ordinary that would most surely be appreciated is a gift card to Amazon. Because… it’s Amazon. Where else do you buy your stuff?
The secret to good gift giving is knowing the personality of the couple. Look through their social media accounts. Talk with their friends and family members to receive ideas.
This post was contributed by Sam Johnson on behalf of Sandals Resorts International.
When it comes to weddings, happy couples are inspired by much more than the love that has brought them together. From sparkling winter venues to serene beach ceremonies, there is a lot that can capture the imagination. However, there is no denying that the best weddings are the ones which ooze individual style, where the bride and groom have crafted a uniquely personal day for their guests to enjoy. This is much easier said than done, but there are luckily some handy tips you can turn to when you want to make your wedding fit your style.
Consider the venue carefully
Before you decide anything else for your wedding, you must decide where you are going to have it. Without the perfect wedding venue, you may not be able to match your dress, flower arrangements, or even your theme to the setting. For example, if you are hoping to have a fairy tale wedding and you choose a historical landmark as your venue, the two will go hand in hand. The best way to choose such a location is to visit various places, where you can see which one feels right. Once you have done this, you can narrow down your selection based on how big the wedding party is set to be.
Pick the right theme
There are some parts of planning a wedding which are not fun, and some with undoubtedly are. One of these is picking a theme to plan your big day around, which is the number one way to let your personal style shine through. In fact, planning your theme down to the smallest detail will ensure your style is present in all parts of your wedding. There are some themes which are more popular than others, such as roaring twenties themed receptions. Yet, there is nothing to say you can’t indulge in a more creative theme if this is an important part of your everyday style.
Invest in a bespoke dress
Brides will have one thing on their mind until their wedding day: their dress. This is arguably the most personal part of any wedding, as you need search through countless designs until you find one that fits every part of you. Many brides feel an overwhelming pressure when choosing. Sometimes, their desire to have flawless wedding photographs can override their own style. To make sure you get the best of both worlds, it’s wise to consider visiting a dressmaker. This may cost a little more than buying a dress off the hanger, but it is worth the investment when you see the beautiful combination of timeless looks and your individual style.
Do your own makeup
Aside from your dress, there are some other key elements you should add to your wedding day look. Shoes, jewelry, and makeup are all essential finishing touches that every bride needs. With the right makeup, you can bring even more romance to your day. While most brides choose to hire a makeup artist to help, more and more people are relying on their own expertise to paint their own face. The best thing about this trick is that you don’t need to be an expert to get it right. With the multitude of YouTube videos and online guides available to everyone, merely a few practice-runs will help you nail your look.
Choose the perfect honeymoon destination
You’d be forgiven for thinking your wedding is over once your reception draws to a close, but this is certainly not the case. Your honeymoon is an extension of your special day, where you can revel in the company of your newly married partner for longer. Choosing a destination you don’t really want to go to could ruin your time together. Instead, you should do your honeymoon your own way. This could mean taking a road trip into the wilderness, or relaxing on a quiet beach somewhere; it doesn’t matter if it makes you happy. Some couples often find their honeymoon isn’t right without their family, so you could even consider staying in a luxury, family-friendly resort.
Hire a wedding planner
Hiring a wedding planner is the most convenient way of making sure your wedding is a huge success. You may feel as though you can do everything yourself, but balancing wedding planning, family commitments, and a full-time job can become too much for even the most organized person. It is natural to worry that your wedding planner may pitch ideas to you that don’t fit your style. If you hire the right person, you can be sure they will bring a healthy mix of expertise and understanding to the table. As with most things, there are a few points to bear in mind before hiring.
Follow your gut
Taking on advice throughout your wedding planning is important, as it enables you to bring new perspectives to your ideas. Unfortunately, listening to everyone and everything can become problematic. No one wants their special day to feel impersonal. You should always remember to follow your gut when it comes to making decisions. Pink flowers may look more romantic, but if yellow is your color, don’t let aesthetics determine your choice. At the end of the day, your loved ones are attending your wedding in celebration of your love, not anything else.
Here at Awesome Caribbean Weddings we’ve been leafing through the various trends for 2018 weddings, and summarized the most frequently cited ideas below, with suggestions as to how to incorporate them into a Caribbean destination wedding.
Wedding planners cite a definite shift towards elegant, grand, even opulent, ceremonies in 2018, even at venues traditionally considered more informal. Expect to see classic colour schemes, particularly a timeless combination of white and green. Candles, on the other hand, are forecast to shift away from the traditional white and ivory, towards a variety of colours, complemented by a greater use of balloons. The one thing we don’t expect will take off for Caribbean destination weddings, is the marble dancefloor that one company rents out to those that want to take the ballroom feeling with them outdoors!
View our inspiration gallery for green-themed weddings here, and white-themed weddings here.
Many of the popular wedding websites speak to couples seeking out unique and alternative spaces for their weddings, further personalized to create events unlike any others. As this happens, venues are likely to offer greater flexibility to clients. There are several references to a move indoors, but at Awesome Caribbean Weddings we know that for some people, there is no substitute for the feel of the sand beneath your toes and the sun in your hair! Destination weddings, especially those in the Caribbean, are likely to incorporate local traditions and cultures.
2018 is predicted to see a shift towards quality, source and substance over style, a trend that started last year within the restaurant industry, where customers are more interested in what they eat, and where it comes from, than what it is served upon (who really wants to eat their food from a shoe?!?). Interestingly there is also a rising trend of serving vegetarian or vegan meals to all guests, as opposed to only those with dietary requirements. Crucially, the cake is back, in a big way! And not just the cake, but an entire dessert table, with a myriad of options to tempt your guests – good news for those planning a wedding in the Caribbean, where the sweet flavours of mango, papaya, pineapple and rum abound!
View our inspiration gallery for wedding cakes here.
Expect to see increased botanical influences on both the décor and catering in 2018, as couples explore unexpected uses and types of florals, including living botanical bars, potted plants on either side of the isle, and a flower wall that allows guests to quite literally pick their seats! Colours are predicted to lean towards the moody and rich, with variations of purple such as wine, lilac, lavender and mauve taking centre stage.
This isn’t a shameless plug! The simple truth is that we’ve seen couples go it alone on planning a wedding in the Caribbean, and we honestly don’t believe that it’s worth it. Planning your own wedding may cost less than using a wedding planner, if you’re measuring the cost purely in terms of dollars and cents, and for a ceremony in your local church it makes perfect sense. But the time, effort and energy that has to be spent organizing a wedding in another country soon adds up and can really detract from the overall experience.
Last minute travel for a wedding in the Caribbean can be expensive, so for the best chance of securing great deals on St Lucia flights, try to book as early as possible. Each couple’s circumstances are different, but we recommend selecting your wedding date at least a year in advance. This is equally important for your guests, as not only will they need to book flights, but they will also need to negotiate time off work.
If you’ve read through some of our Testimonials you’ll know that prompt communication is something that we take very seriously. It’s a two-way street, however, and not all of our clients are as responsive as we would like! When planning a destination wedding in the Caribbean, you’ll need to keep on top of communication, not only with us, but also with your guests. This is especially important where travel plans are concerned. Synchronising travel and accommodation can play a key role in keeping costs down. Putting together a wedding website is a great way of communicating important information to a large group of people without the need for dozens of emails back and forth.
Of course, this also applies to those who are not traveling with you. Not everybody will be able to join you for your wedding in the Caribbean, but with adequate communication those unfortunate enough to be left behind can still be involved. We’ve seen loved ones send notes to be opened and read aloud at the ceremony, and one bride’s mother sent a vial of her favorite perfume so that her daughter would remember her on the day!
Agree On A Budget
It goes without saying – the cost of a wedding in the Caribbean is not going to be pocket change. However, it doesn’t have to cost the earth either. Flights and accommodation make up the lion’s share of many destination weddings, but can be managed with sufficient planning (see #2 above). Similarly we can help control other costs through our considerable local experience. The most important thing is to establish a budget early on in the planning stage, to avoid costs spiraling out of control. We can help you put together a realistic budget and, more importantly, make sure you stick to it!
Plan Some Downtime
We always recommend planning a wedding in the Caribbean at least three days after arrival. This gives you the time to catch up on rest, especially if you’re flying in from Europe, settle into your accommodation, and also to visit your wedding venue (see below). We typically meet with clients on the first morning after arrival to go over plans, review the weather forecast and address any last minute changes.
After the big day, take some time out to celebrate by exploring the island. Regardless of age or fitness level, there is no shortage of St Lucia activities to enjoy. Guests typically plan a few activities for the group to take advantage of, but remember to leave some empty time so that individual guests can relax as they see fit. We can make suggestions, or take care of any reservations that you need.
Visit Your Venue
If your budget allows it, we definitely recommend taking a trip ahead of your wedding. This allows you to see firsthand the venue you have chosen for your wedding in the Caribbean, and also gives you the opportunity to meet your wedding planner and other parties, such as the wedding officer, photographer and DJ.
Your Wedding In The Caribbean – Don’t:
We know, it’s easier said than done, but we’ve been doing this for a long time, and your wedding in the Caribbean is in safe hands with Awesome Caribbean Weddings! We recommend taking the time to browse our Featured Weddings and Testimonials to get a sense of how we work and what sort of experiences we have delivered for past guests. Every wedding is different, but all Awesome weddings feature a number of constants: calmness, confidence and communication. In the years that we’ve been planning weddings in St Lucia we’ve seen it all, and we’ve been able to overcome any challenge that has come our way.
Forget The Kids
According to a recent Special Events magazine article, up to 92% of destination weddings involve children in attendance, up from 88% a year earlier. When planning your wedding in the Caribbean it’s worth remembering that several St Lucia accommodation options, such as Sandals, Rendezvous and Calabash Cove, are adults-only, so if children are part of your group let us know early on so that we can help you choose appropriate accommodation and venues.
Play The Numbers Game
One thing we’ve seen time and time again, is couples setting a budget, and then inviting twice as many people, assuming that only half will show up. This may be true of local weddings, where advance planning on the part of guests is less important, but typically we always advise our guests to assume that if you invite somebody to a wedding in the Caribbean, they WILL come!
Bankrupt Your Guests
Whilst it’s lovely to have everyone staying in the same resort, especially if the ceremony is taking place on property, keep in mind that not everyone has the same budget. We strongly recommend offering guests a range of accommodation options to suit all budgets. St Lucia is a relatively small island, and many resorts are located within the Rodney Bay area, so your guests needn’t be far away. We can help you organise tours, welcome parties, and farewell events that bring people together so that you still get to see everyone throughout the trip, and not only on the wedding day.
Leave Everything To The Last Minute
Organising a wedding in the Caribbean is a lot different to putting together a local wedding, and advance planning is especially important. For example, the size of the island means that the availability of marriage officers, DJs and photographers is more limited than in larger destinations. Planning ahead ensures that you secure the best available options, and that you have more time to relax with your guests once you arrive on island. You can rest assured that your wedding planner will work closely with you from day one, to guide you as to what needs doing when.
Be Tied To Fashion & Trends
It’s important to keep in mind that your wedding in the Caribbean may not encompass everything that you dream of, and that certain trade-offs may be required. For example, if you’re set on a destination beach wedding, a flowing Vera Wang dress and Jimmy Choo stilettos just aren’t going to work. Your dress needs to be appropriate for the climate, for the venue that you’ve selected, and for taking on an international flight! Forget about what’s on trend back home, and think about the big day. For inspiration, check out the photo galleries for your wedding venue, to see what other brides selected for their wedding.
Of course, these are just some of the more common lessons that we’ve learned over the years of planning weddings in the Caribbean, and every wedding is different. During our initial email and phone conversations these are some of the key topics that we’ll discuss, to help make your Awesome Caribbean Wedding a reality. Contact us today for a no-obligation discussion on what’s right for you, and how we can help.
You’re getting married. This is one of the most exciting times of your life. While preparing and planning for a wedding can be stressful, the couple who takes the laid back approach will have a lot more fun and so will their guests.
Lower the stress of the bridesmaids dress. The bridal gown is your top priority. All eyes will be on you and of course, you should focus on that. When it comes to the bridesmaid’s dresses, you can afford to lighten up.
Choose the color or family of colors you will use and discuss the length that will work best, and set a spending limit. Then let the bridesmaids work within those guidelines and select their own dresses.
By using the same dress shop, they will be able to take advantage of the expertise of the vendor and they will match the colors perfectly. They will be happier and it is one thing you will not have to stress over. This is a very modern idea and you will find it makes for a beautiful wedding party.
Another place you can have fun while preparing for your wedding is your wedding registry.
There are a lot of wedding registries out there that are easy to use and there are no fees that are passed on to your guests – Honeyfund being one of them. However, do not miss the opportunity to get to know about Plumfund as well – Honeyfund’s sister crowdfunding platform with zero fees – if you want to skyrocket your wedding wish list with some additional pampering. A Caribbean wedding always sounded so good, didn’t it?
Of course, you can ask for the traditional items you need on your honeymoon registry. You can also ask for funds to have a fantastic honeymoon, travel expenses, or even funds to use as a downpayment on a home. There is no limit to the dreams you can share with your guests on your Honeyfund registry. With that said, this is also a place you can have some real fun.
Here are a few examples of fun things you can list on your registry, that your guests will enjoy taking care of:
His and her cooking classes
Explain that it would be nice to have a meal that doesn’t include a pizza box
Housecleaning service for a year
Contact some services and get a quote for a weekly cleaning and list it! No, it is not traditional, but it is a great gift!
Disco dance lessons
Looking for a fun activity to keep your marriage fun? How about disco or even tango dance class?
Future babysitting fund
You may be reaching way into the future, but babysitting is a fact of life for young couples if they want to spend quality time together. Be prepared.
Theme park tickets for four
Do your married fantasies include taking your mini-me’s to Disneyland? List it. The funds can sit in the savings account until you are ready, but someday this will be a trip that memories are made of.
There is an old movie where a woman states, “I was saving this money for a divorce – if I ever get married!” While we laugh at such ideas, the truth is, building communication skills, and making a marriage takes work. Having someone in your corner keeps the process moving along if the time ever comes that they are needed.
Ask your guests to contribute toward the purchase and upkeep of a fur baby. Pets cost money, and so do shots, food, vet care, and grooming. If one of the things that put a smile on your face is the thought of a future fur baby, list it!
Take a breath and enjoy your wedding. This is a once in a lifetime experience, so shoot for the stars.